Twenty-three finalists go for top honors in Walker's Rising Stars competition

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Twenty-three Pinellas County high school students have been announced as finalists in six categories for the 2015 Walker's Rising Star Scholarship Competition. They will vie for more than $60,000 in scholarships and prizes Tuesday at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

First, second, third and fourth place in the Dance, Instrumental Music, Stage Performance/Theater, Visual Arts and Vocal Music categories will receive scholarships of $5,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. The Culinary Arts Category scholarships are provided by the Ryan Wells Foundation and first, second and third place will receive $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively. More than 200 juniors and seniors from public schools applied to compete in the seven-month process of auditions and adjudication. The competition is sponsored by Kane's Furniture and Crown Automotive Group.

Here are the finalists in each category.

Culinary: Jasmyn Kiest, Northeast High; Ryan Cleary, Tarpon Springs High; and Paige Smith, Dixie Hollins High.

Dance: Karolyn Stine, Countryside High; Maya Silverberg, St. Petersburg High; Nina Futch, Osceola Fundamental High; and Teagan Reed, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High.

Instrumental Music: Alyssa Jouret, St. Petersburg High; Jared Duncan, Palm Harbor University High; Kira Touchton, Tarpon Springs High; and Sarah Hall, Seminole High.

Theater: Alianna Perez, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High; Ana Bernot-Reilly, Dunedin High; Blake Lafita, Palm Harbor University High; and Gwendolyn Ludwig, St. Petersburg High.

Visual Arts: Ayden Stoefen, Largo High; Kelly Dottery, East Lake High; Krismel Ubasa, Boca Ciega High; and Zoe Cappello, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High.

Vocal Music: Anissa Perona, Dunedin High; Grayson Samuels, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High; Lauren Housley, East Lake High; and Simone Sirota-Plotnikov, Largo High.

To purchase tickets, visit the Pinellas Education Foundation website, pinellaseducation.org, and click on the Walker's Rising Stars logo. The website also contains more information on each of the artists.

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